Diary

Lammas / Apiary Renovation / Bees to Heather / PicklesRSS feed

Wednesday 16 August, 2017

by Rosemary at 4:43pm in Smallholding No comments Add your own

Monday 31stJuly

Nice day here. Gemma’s been strimming in the orchard, preparing the next paddocks for the poultry.

Poor milking but milked Rosie with the calf suckling – cows are holding up milk, as we were told by Tim Tyne so I have a cunning plan.

Dan took Bryn for a walk to the golf course and got some lovely photos.

Bryn Cardigan Welsh CorgiBryn x

Tuesday 1st August

Lammas or Lughnasach today – the first harvest festival of the year. The weather’s still very changeable with torrential downpours and hot sunny spells.

Dan made an 8-strand plaited loaf – more as a result of watching a back episode of the Great British Bake-off than Lammas, but hey, there’s no such thing as coincidence.

8 strand plaited loaf8 strand plaited loaf, tasted better than it looked!

Very tasty but Dan says his technique needs some work.

Ace appears to be courting Annie.

Despite the hormones, the cows and Ace were fine coming in today. We had a more productive milking with my new method. I let the two big calves out singly, let them have access to one quarter – they were quite hungry – and put the machine on three quarters. The cows can’t let their milk down in just one quarter.

Wednesday 2nd August

 Lovely day. The Annie / Ace courtship is continuing.

Lifted all the shallots and some beetroot.

2017 shallot harvestShallot harvest.

Dan peeled the shallots and put them in brine, in preparation for pickling.

Another good milking with the new technique

Thursday 3rd August

Rain and sun today. Annie and Ace have gone their separate ways but will stay friends.

Paul took our three beehives to the heather at Rottal Estates in Glen Clova. They’ll be there for six weeks, so a plan has been hatched to renovate the apiary.

Dan made bread and cheddar and I did some baking – almond cookies and mincemeat cookies, just to get the flavor of Christmas.

Wholemeal, spelt and unbleached white loafWholemeal and spelt flour loaf.

I made crumpets for lunch, we don’t have them often enough, they are so much nicer than shop-bought.

Home-made crumpetsHome-made crumpets.

Not a great milking tonight.

Friday 4th August

It was dry and cool this morning but we’ve had torrential rain showers this afternoon.

The apiary renovation is underway. We looked at some photos from 7 years ago and it was astounding how overgrown the trees and shrubs had become, restricting light to the Triangle and to the beehives.

So most of the trees and shrubs have been cut back – the cattle are stripping the leaves off the cut branches – and we’re going to plant a native hedge round the perimeter of the area, come autumn.

Cattle browsingCattle browsing the apiary clearings.

Saturday 5th August

We killed and cleaned the last meat chooks; four hens totaled 12.9kg, average 3.2kg.

We bought nineteen birds; lost two early on; killed, cleaned and froze seventeen at a total of 52.2kg, so just over 3kg each on average.

The cost of buying and raising them (excluding electricity for the heat lamp for the first three weeks) was £174, so about £3.35/kg.

Pickled the shallots and beetroot, got a good few jars from this year’s crop, plus kept a lot of the larger shallots to dry for cooking.

2017 pickles2017 pickles

The apiary renovation is progressing – what a difference it’s made.

Apiary renovationApiary renovation progress.

Sunday 6th August

We had an Introduction to sheep keeping course here today. Everyone seemed happy.

Took the fifteen ewes up to Astwood afterwards and brought Urquhart and Teddy back here.

Indoors, working away on the new guest room – how did we get so much stuff!!!

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